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Pieter-Jan De Pue’s debut feature The Land of the Enlightened has been selected for the Grand Jury Competition at the Sheffield Doc/Fest (10-15 June). De Pue’s mix of fiction and documentary about children in Afghanistan is set to receive its British premiere at the festival, whose programme also contains several co-productions with Flanders including the documentary features A Family Affair and Strike a Pose, and the short films Figure and Pulse.
The Land of the Enlightened is one of 12 films selected for the Grand Jury Competition, a selection of the best documentaries chosen from the line-up. The film will be competing for the Grand Jury Award worth £2,000.
The short documentary film Flower of a Thousand Colours by Karen Vázquez Guadarrama has been selected for the Future Frames programme (4-5 July) at the International Film Festival of Karlovy Vary. The annual initiative, in collaboration with European Film Promotion (EFP), shines the spotlight on 10 upcoming film talents. Flower of a Thousand Colours is the second Flemish short in a row to be selected for Future Frames.
Karen Vázquez Guadarrama graduated from the School of Arts in Ghent with her short film Flower of a Thousand Colours which tells the story of Emiliana, a single mother trying to survive in a remote Bolivian mining camp 4,897 metres above sea level.
From 29 April-7 May at Docville in Leuven, Belgian documentaries will be in the spotlight once again. This year’s National Competition has a distinctly Flemish tinge, with screenings including The Land of the Enlightened, Samuel in the Clouds, No Man Is an Island and The Invisible City [Kakuma]. Two Flemish documentaries - Wim and Truth or Consequence - will also receive their world premieres at Docville.
In Wim, filmmaker Lut Vandekeybus dives into the complex poetic universe of her brother, acclaimed choreographer and director Wim Vandekeybus, while Truth or Consequence by Sam Ostyn is a captivating and poetic portrait of a tiny town in the New Mexico desert that changed its name to the title of a radio show.
Sum of Histories, directed by Lukas Bossuyt, and Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened both received their Asian premiere at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which ended on 4 April. The programme also included four co-productions with Flanders: Schneider vs Bax, The White Knights, Les Cowboys and the short film Splintertime. Finally, Flemish actor Jan Bijvoet was also featured in Embrace of the Serpent, in which he plays one of the main roles.
Lukas Bossuyt’s directorial debut Sum of Histories received its Asian premiere at the Hong Kong Film Festival after premiering at the Montreal World Film Festival last summer. It is the story of Viktor, a brilliant young professor who discovers a way to manipulate time. Now he can finally change the past and help his beloved Lena.
A Sea Change, a documentary feature debut by Nina de Vroome, is set to receive its world premiere at the Visions du Réel International Documentary Film Festival, which takes place from 15-23 April in Nyon, Switzerland. The programme also includes Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened, as well as two student films - Mainland and Whisper - and two projects realised within the framework of DocNomads, a joint masters programme with Flanders. Finally, the classic documentary Sarah says… Leïla says… by Frans Buyens will get a special screening at the Festival.
A Sea Change directed by Nina de Vroome will get its world premiere in Nyon where it has been selected for the Regard Neuf programme. The documentary looks at the IBIS maritime boarding school in Ostend, and offers a reflection on the decline of the fishing industry.
Pieter-Jan De Pue’s debut feature The Land Of The Enlightened and Tim De Keersmaecker’s No Man Is an Island have both been selected for the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival (28 April – 8 May) in Canada. No Man Is an Island is set to receive its North American premiere as part of the International Spectrum Competition, while The Land Of The Enlightened will be presented in the World Showcase programme. Hot Docs is the largest documentary film festival in North America.
In The Land of the Enlightened - a poetic mix between fiction and documentary - Pieter-Jan De Pue tells the story of a group of Kuchi children who wage their own mini-wars in the daily madness of life in Afghanistan.
The Invisible City [Kakuma], directed by Lieven Corthouts; and Samuel in the Clouds, directed by Pieter Van Eecke, are to have their world premieres at the MOOOV Film Festival (19 April-3 May) in Belgium. A further three docs from Flanders - The Land of the Enlightened, No Man Is an Island and Reach for the Sky - have also been selected. The MOOOV festival is set to screen 101 films from 37 different countries.
The Invisible City [Kakuma] follows director Lieven Corthouts to Kakuma, a Kenyan refugee camp where countless unaccompanied minors arrive every day. The children grab all the chances they get and try to build a new life and a future. But can Kakuma offer a real future in a new home or is it just a waiting area, where the only option is to continue the dangerous journey to Europe?
Director Jan Bultheel and animation studio Grid Animation have both been nominated for the Cartoon Movie Tributes, the annual animation prizes honouring the best of European animation. Bultheel has been nominated with his feature debut Cafard as Director of the Year, while Grid Animation and its co-producers on the feature Ooops! Noah is Gone… are competing for Producer of the Year. Opening Cartoon Movie this year is Robinson Crusoe, a 3D animation feature directed by Vincent Kesteloot and Ben Stassen.
Jan Bultheel is one of the nominees for the award of European Director of the Year with his animation feature Cafard. For his feature debut, the director used techniques such as motion-capture and facial tracking to transfer the movements and expressions of the actors onto animated figures.
There was another strong presence from Flanders at this year’s International Film Festival in Berlin (11-21 February). Actress Martha Canga Antonio took the stage as one of 10 European Shooting Stars; foreign films starring Veerle Baetens and Jan Bijvoet were in the line-up; four film professionals from Flanders were picked for the Berlinale Talents initiative; and a variety of Flemish (co-)productions screened in the European Film Market.
Martha Canga Antonio was one of 10 European Shooting Stars in the spotlight during the Berlinale. The actress made an international impact with her debut role as Mavela in Black, a contemporary Romeo & Juliet story directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Previous Shooting Stars have included Matthias Schoenaerts, Alicia Vikander, Carey Mulligan and Daniel Brühl.
Following their world premieres at the Sundance Film Festival (21-31 January) in Park City, both Belgica and The Land of the Enlightened return home with an award. Felix Van Groeningen’s Belgica won the Directing Award of the World Cinema Dramatic competition, while Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened was awarded Best Cinematography.
Belgica had the privilege of opening the Sundance Film Festival this year, screening in the World Dramatic Competition. Felix Van Groeningen’s follow-up to the Oscar-nominated The Broken Circle Breakdown is the story of two brothers who become business partners.